Jane Wachutka is the executive vice president of Product Development at PTC. In this role she is responsible for leading over 2000 research and development team members for the company’s core product families including: PTC Creo®, PTC Windchill®, PTC.
Arbortext®, PTC Mathcad®, PTC Integrity®, and PTC Servigistics®. In addition, Jane leads the PTC Office of the CTO.
Jane has been with PTC since 1998 when she joined as a member of the Windchill acquisition. Through organic growth and more acquisitions, the PTC Windchill R&D team grew from 5 to 1500 software engineers worldwide who design and build the software products that make up PTC’s enterprise product portfolio. Jane considers her contribution to PTC’s leadership in the world of enterprise software the highlight of a career in software development that spans work on super computer operating systems, specialized parallel processing systems and compilers, as well as email, fax and PDM software solutions. Jane never ceases to be amazed by human ingenuity in product design and manufacturing and she appreciates the opportunity to work with PTC’s great customers who are dedicated to improving our world via innovation in the automotive, aerospace, industrial, medical device, and many other industries.
Jane has a Master’s of Science degree in Software Engineering from St. Thomas University and a Computer Science degree from St. Cloud State University.
In my role leading PTC’s office of the CTO as Executive Vice President of Research and Development, I have the honor of channeling the collective creativity and energy of the ~2000 employees worldwide (out of over 6200) who build the software products that fuel PTC’s business and bring value to our diverse customer community. Throughout my career I have enjoyed the opportunity to mentor others, both men and women. As the first female EVP in PTC’s history, and hearing from many young women that my promotion is a sign that the world holds more promise for them as well, I have taken a more active role in raising the issue of diversity at the highest level of the company.
STEM education is critical to our nation’s ability to foster a culture of innovation and create prosperity for its citizens. We must never be satisfied with the status quo and should constantly challenge ourselves to continue a proud heritage of invention and discovery.
PTC decided many years ago to focus its community outreach on schools and to partner with organizations who lead in developing STEM programs and content. Through PTC’s partnership with FIRST, my ability to contribute to the FIRST mission “to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all” has been life changing. I’ve witnessed how young people who participate in this program come to believe in their own ability to solve any problem – to work together to face down the unexpected disappointments, to fail fast, and to move on to what will get the job done. When asked how corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors can work together to build a strong pipeline of STEM educated talent, my suggestion is to adopt FIRST’s mission across all parties wanting to make a difference and at the highest level of government. The FIRST model is proven around the world.
FIRST has shown that making science fun is a key aspect to capturing the imagination of boys and girls from all economic means and ethnic origin. FIRST gives over 500,000 children opportunities to experience the exhilaration of problem solving and discovery through collaboration and thus helps participants to work on their social skills as well. Education professionals among my family and friends have shared with me their concern that our nation’s focus on standardized reading and mathematics testing, leaves little time for hands-on science projects. Providing teachers with content that can be used to further those basic skills in a fun and creative way, sponsoring science specialists for the classroom, and funding science camps are all ways in which the corporate community can help schools to give all students more access to STEM opportunities.
To gain the benefits of a diverse workforce, we must ensure that all children have equal access to STEM programs and that we provide opportunities at every education level. Early childhood education, after school daycare, summer school, and community education programs all provide additional venues for introducing activities that can augment classroom activities. At PTC we have a team who are building content to inspire young people in their ability to design and quickly build systems that harness the Internet of Things to invent new solutions to everyday problems.
Corporations can play an important role in higher education too. The rapid pace of technological advancement requires universities to constantly update their STEM curriculum and the resources made available in college classrooms and labs. Via our internship program, PTC has discovered that there is much for us to do in assisting school in their efforts to educate and prepare STEM professionals.
To create greater diversity, our higher education institutions are recognizing the need to provide focused support, mentoring, and support groups to first- generation college students, i.e., those who are the first in their families to pursue a college education. Corporations supporting these efforts recognize the value that these motivated students, who have already overcome personal adversity, can bring to the workplace. Our success as a nation is based on the knowledge that we are a land of opportunity, and these programs are critical to continuing that heritage and tradition.
What I have learned as a mentor to students and young professionals is that I will inevitably gain more than I give. By staying connected to young people, executives gain an appreciation for the ways in which we can build a welcoming workplace that allows people of every generation to achieve their potential. PTC is working to create affinity groups to support people who face similar challenges. We are starting with an affinity group to give women more visibility to career opportunities, but the plan is to create a model that can be used by other groups as well, including our military veterans who re-enter the workforce. Through these affinity groups we hope to match people who are at different stages in their careers for mentoring opportunities.
My vision for the future of STEM careers within the United States is that all corporate leaders recognize the need for and the value of partnership with schools, teachers, and organizations like FIRST as a way to create the diverse and inventive teams they need to build success while bringing positive change to the world.
In the IoT era, PTC’s customers are bringing to market increasingly smart and connected products which generate new sources of value for customers and manufacturers as streams of data are captured, analyzed, and shared in real-time.
PTC is a global provider of technology platforms and enterprise applications for smart and connected products, operations, and systems. PTC’s enterprise applications serve manufacturers and other businesses that create, connect, analyze,operate and service products.
Led by its award winning ThingWorx application enablement platform, PTC’s platform technologies offer its customers a means to establish a secure, reliable connection to their products as well as a platform to rapidly develop applications for maintaining and operating them – and ultimately help them deliver new value emerging from the Internet of Things. An early pioneer in Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, PTC today employs more than 6,000 professional serving more than 28,000 businesses worldwide.